Do you have a “To Do List”?

Some people keep them on their computer. Others have them on their phone.

I’ve tried both of those – but they never worked for me.

Some people think they don’t need lists. My memory is not that good.

I prefer to write things down. Sometimes on slips of paper, other times on the whiteboard hanging in my office. That way I can physically check things off and see what I have accomplished.

If you use post-it notes you can crumple them up and toss them in the trashcan. It is a great feeling as you get to throw away your tasks and your desk or wall is clean again!

So what is on the “To Do List” of a professional ventriloquist?

I’ve decided to share my current one with you. Maybe it will give you some ideas.

I generally start with a major goal for each week.

For the week I am writing this, my goal is:

Learn more about email systems.

I get a lot of email. I’d like to find out how to:

  • sort it so it goes into specific folders,
  • sync things between my phone and computer,
  • eliminate the stuff I don’t need to see
  • file and retrieve things I may need
  • and create and file templates to make replies easier.

Sounds easy – but I want a better system than what I am using. I understand my current email system can do all of this. So I need to learn how to use those features.

I’ll break this down into steps for each day – day one will be to create a list of videos I want to watch and articles I want to read.

In fact, that would be a job I could outsource to a VA (Virtual Assistant.) Yes, I’d have to pay them, but it would save me time to do other things on my list.

Now let’s go to the daily list …

1. Research three events happening in my area.

This is pretty easy. I just Google the parameters I am looking for. As an example:

Festivals in Maryland May 2019

I’ll get some results that won’t help – but I’ll also likely find some that are very helpful. I can find websites, the names of the organizers, sometimes addresses, sometimes phone numbers or email.

I could also outsource this – but I’ve never had luck with virtual assistants doing the research for me. I’d rather see the sites for myself so I can determine if the event is worth my attention.

2. Contact three people by email.

This is also pretty easy if you find the names of people for the events you research. I don’t sell, I try to start a dialog about what they are currently doing for entertainment. A what works for your event kind of thing.

* – If I accomplish my weekly goal, I will have a better system in place to save me time on this.

3. Answer email.

This again goes to my weekly goal which will save me time.

One note I can add is that I try to set a couple of email periods each day. I find if I check whenever a new email arrives, I get little done. By setting a time, I can go through and get things done pretty quickly.

I’d also like to add that I sometimes don’t live up to my new rule and get absorbed in other people’s needs before my own.

4. Write some jokes.

Unlike a lot of people who write comedy, I do not set a specific number of jokes to write each day. I don’t have time for that.

My goal is to come up with one or two jokes that I can later refine. (If they are worth it!)

This goal helps me exercise the funny muscles every day.

5. Send out ten postcards

These could be thank you’s to past clients, reminders about upcoming shows, or cold mail advertising. I have a mailing list – I use it to stay in touch.

In the electronic age, not everyone mails physical materials anymore. Postcards are an inexpensive touch that can make a difference in your bookings if used properly and mailed selectively.

6. Write something.

It may be this blog post.

It may be an advertising blurb.

I may work on a new script by looking at the jokes I’ve written.

It may be for a new product or course.

It may just be a list of ideas for future things I need to write.

I hated writing – but now that I do it everyday, I feel I’m getting better.

I’ll never be perfect – but no one else is either.

7. Practice lip control.

I have to do this every day.

Whenever I stand in front of a mirror. Whenever I drive. Whenever I’m working on a joke or writing something.

I’m even practicing as I type these words.

It is my business, my skill and I have to keep at it.

8. Work on a new graphic …
I love playing with graphics. I get to make them for the blog posts, the websites and for the Vent Haven ConVENTion.

I could job these out, but these are my play time. My relaxation.

Assorted things:

I also include non-business related things on my list. Laundry, dishes, cleaning, grocery & store runs, etc.

I’ll set up certain days to do specific tasks like pay the bills or update my books.

Time For Tasks:

It is also important to set a time limit on tasks. I could search the Internet all day for my three events. But I have a specific amount of time to use.

Same for writing and graphics and – well, everything else on the list.

I become so engrossed in what I am doing. I like to tweak and fine tune things.

If I don’t set a time limit, I’ll have wasted the whole day on something simple that no one really cares about. (Including me…)

Don’t Beat Yourself Up …

If you achieve a goal – great! Mark it off your list and give yourself a reward.

Always reward yourself when you complete something.

If you don’t finish something – add it to the next day and put it a bit higher on your list.

I’ve mentioned before that I suffer from depression.

There have been weeks that I have accomplished next to nothing.

If I beat myself up over it, I’d be even worse off.

Your “To Do List” can help you be more productive, more organized and make your life easier. If you don’t already create one on a regular basis – try it and see.

No matter what – there are a few of the things on my list above you should definitely try adding to your schedule!

What is on your To Do List?

Share your goals and tasks in the comments below and maybe you will inspire someone else to take action:

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